SKF NOTE: Revisiting the transcript of my early 1980’s interview with Joe Morello today. Five or six times Joe Morello said some things about Buddy Rich which were new to me. I also found Joe’s remarks instructive and/or funny. I will post the remarks separately, by subject, over time.
Joe sat through our entire interview with a pair of drumsticks, sitting near a coffee table on which he had a practice pad. In this post, Morello demonstrates points he was making about Buddy Rich’s playing. Joe did so playing on his practice pad.
Also, the Buddy Rich Quiet, Please record was released when Morello was 12-years old.
Joe Morello: There was a record years ago by Rich called, Quiet, Please with Tommy Dorsey. This was an old 78. And I heard it and…, “Gee, that’s nice. I want to play like that.”
Buddy was responsible for my wanting to play too. ‘Cause I enjoy his playing, y’know. It was dynamic, powerful, and speedy at the time. [JM plays fast single strokes, demonstrating what Buddy played at the end of Quiet, Please.] And I could play it. I said, “Geez, I’m as good as that. Hell, I can play that. What makes him so good?” Y’know? “Man, I can do all that s**t.”
But I always could hear things easily. I never had to slow the record down or anything. I could always hear breaks very easy. That’s one thing that I was lucky to have. The old man left me with somethin’. I could hear pretty good.
You know what happened? I’d be playing these little jobs around Springfield, [Massachusetts], and I’d do the identical drum solo – and it never sounded the same. It never sounded good. “There’s something wrong. It doesn’t sound like that!”
‘Course, what you don’t realize at that stage is that this guy just played it off the top of his head, and he probably never played that thing again.